Contract Dealer Survey 2013: What They Really Think

By Darius Helm

 

As the commercial market starts to heat up, contract dealers are finding themselves busier than they have been in the last few years, but the market today is different from the one before the recession. Prices remain elevated, and budgets and construction schedules are as tight as ever. Competition remains fierce, and it doesn’t help that, with manufacturers selling more product direct, contract dealers are increasingly forced to compete against their own suppliers.

The fundamental challenge facing flooring contract dealers is how readily, given the right circumstances, product is valued over service. The slow and unsteady recovery from the longest recession since the Great Depression has helped create an uneasy, nervous market. And the grim long-term outlook for energy and raw material prices has done little to buoy spirits. The pressure is on end users to make the most out of every dollar spent, and the hurt passes all the way down the line, through the general contractors, to the contract dealers.

The issue of manufacturers going direct has been developing for nearly 20 years. Before that, manufacturers treated contract dealers more like clients, and mill reps had close relationships with them. But the distribution revolution of the mid ’90s saw suppliers tearing down the old model and selling to anyone they could. What fell through the cracks was accountability—who was responsible for the finished floor?

When the manufacturers sell direct to the end user, the contract dealer is essentially brought on for the singular purpose of installing the floorcovering, and that can cause significant problems. There’s a lot more to a finished floor than just the installation, including a whole lot of logistics and timing, along with all the technical issues surrounding floor prep and specifying the right flooring product for the application. The only entity that has expertise in both product and process is the contract dealer, so when the dealer is only brought on as the installer, all the other elements of the process tend to get neglected, things don’t run smoothly, additional costs come up—and people start blaming each other.

However, as one contract dealer pointed out, these things often run in cycles. It’s likely that at some point one of the major mills will do the math and decide to no longer sell direct, setting up a trend for others to follow.

For the complete Contract Dealer Survey results, see the December 2013 issue of Floor Focus Magazine.

Copyright 2013 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

Home Builder Sentiment Ticks Down in January   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 20, 2015 -- U.S. homebuilder sentiment edged lower in January but remained well in positive territory, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Remodeling Market Index Hits Record Level   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 20, 2015 -- The National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index posted a record-high result of 60 in the final quarter of 2014.

Fuse Alliance Names Gordon Executive Director   Full Article
Laguna Niguel, CA, Jan. 20, 2015 -- Fuse Alliance, a member-owned organization of professional, commercial flooring contractors, said it has named Geoff Gordon as executive director.

RAK Ceramics Selling Stake in RAK Laticrete   Full Article
United Arab Emirates, Jan. 20, 2015 -- RAK Ceramics plans to sell its stake in RAK Laticrete as part of the company’s strategy to focus on core assets, the firm said.

Julius 'Bud' Shaw, Founder of Shaw Industries, Dies   Full Article
Cartersville, GA, Jan. 20, 2015 -- Julius Clarence "Bud" Shaw, age 85, founder of Shaw Industries, died Jan. 16.

TISE East Changes Location, Dates   Full Article
Dallas, TX, Jan. 20, 2015 -- Informa Exhibitions said that the second annual International Surface Event East 2015 dates have shifted to Nov. 2-5 and the location is moving to Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center.

Shaw Introduces New Carpet Backing, Protection System   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Jan. 19, 2015 -- Shaw Floors said it is introducing LifeGuard, a new carpet protection system that covers the entire product, from face fiber to backing.

Valinge, System SpA Form Printer Partnership   Full Article
Viken, Sweden, Jan. 19, 2015 -- Välinge Innovation and System SpA have entered into a strategic partnership to supply the flooring and building panel industry with industrial single-pass printers .

Surfaces Show Featuring Booth Crawl Challenge   Full Article
Dallas, TX, Jan. 19, 2015 -- This week's Surfaces show will feature a Booth Crawl Challenge, a new show promotion.

Ceramics of Italy Contest Deadline Extended   Full Article
Bologna, Italy, Jan. 19, 2015 -- The submission deadline for the 2015 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition has been extended to Jan. 23.

Polley To Be Inducted into WFCA Hall of Fame   Full Article
Anaheim, CA, Jan. 19, 2015 -- David Polley is the newest inductee to the World Floor Covering Association Hall of Fame.

HPS Schönox To Name Contest Winners on Thursday   Full Article
Las Vegas, NV, Jan. 16, 2015 -- HPS Schönox will present the winner of its Schönox Worst Subfloor in North America Contest at Surfaces next Thursday at 11 a.m..

Shnier To Distribute Metroflor's Aspecta in Canada   Full Article
Norwalk, CT, Jan. 16, 2015 -- Metroflor Corp. said it has formed a partnership with Shnier, a leading Canadian floor covering company, to distribute its commercial Aspecta LVT.

Dealer Discovers Rug Owned by FDR   Full Article
New York, NY, Jan. 16, 2015 -- John Ahdoot of Ahdoot Oriental Rugs recently discovered a rug in a New Jersey couple’s home that once belonged to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Consumer Sentiment at 11-Year High   Full Article
Ann Arbor, MI, Jan. 16-2015 -- Consumer sentiment in January surged to the highest level in 11 years, according to the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment index.

Consumer Prices Fall Most in Six Years   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 16, 2015 -- U.S. consumer prices fell 0.4% in December, the largest drop since the end of 2008, according to the Labor Department.

Pharr Yarns Invests in New Space Dye Technology   Full Article
McAdenville, NC, Janu. 15, 2015 -- Pharr Yarns said it has invested in space dye technology for its McAdenville facility to handle the growing demand for sophisticated design.

Engineered Floors Using Dye, Stain Technologies in Soft Nylon   Full Article
Dalton, Ga., Jan. 16, 2015 – Dream Weaver Carpet and Engineered Floors say they are using technology they developed for coloring polyester fiber and applying it to soft nylon.

IVC Deal a Good Sales Opportunity for Mohawk   Full Article
New York, NY, Jan. 15, 2015 -- Stifel Nicolaus still has a "buy" rating on shares of Mohawk Industries following Mohawk's announced acquisition of vinyl firm IVC for $1.2 billion.

Producer Prices Decline in December   Full Article
Washington, DC, Jan. 15, 2015 –- Producer prices fell by 0.3% in December, according to the Commerce Department.